---- — We all react to tragedy differently. As life would have it for me this week, I’ve been very busy, especially at night. That means while obviously aware of the bombings in Boston on Monday afternoon, I have not watched much of the television news coverage except for the first two or three hours after the attack.
In fact, about the only thing I have seen or read since, was finding out Monday night about the 8-year-old boy that was killed. I couldn’t watch anymore after that. It was too sad, too upsetting and too unreasonable to digest without crying. So I shut down, turned everything off and went about working and being there for my family. But I knew at some point I was going to have to let it out.
That is where sports came through, as it so often does.
I am boycotting the NHL this year. So I wasn’t watching when around 8 p.m. Wednesday my phone began buzzing from friends everywhere having sent me a link to the Bruins-Sabres game. I figured it was a big hit or someone who fell and was made to look foolish. By now, many of you know of what I then clicked on and saw.
Bruins fans. Bostonians. Americans. Singing the national anthem. As loud and as proud as any group has ever sung it.
I’ve been crying ever since. Not constantly, but it doesn’t take much to get me choked up and glassy-eyed this week.
But thanks to those classy, inspiring citizens, it’s not a cry that is always dripping in sadness. That is what it would have been if not for that glorious moment inside TD Garden on Wednesday night. Yes, some of my tears are for the dead and wounded. Some of the tears are for the innocence of Patriots’ Day that was lost on Monday. But now some of my tears could be to celebrate that which brings us together — that which we feed off to get by in the 21st century.
The anthem felt like pride and patriotism. In the beginning, a little defiance. At the end, a celebration of who they and we are: in this together.
Unfortunately, there are going to be more events like what took place in Boston. We know it. The world has changed, and not for the better. But we need to treasure what was on display Wednesday night before a hockey game more than the despair of Monday afternoon.
Thank you, Boston!
Thanks for showing us what one’s spirit needs to be during and after times like this. Thanks for being there for me when I was supposed to be here for you.
Thanks for one more thing. Because of you, Boston, I’ll never sing the anthem the same way again. As an adult I’ve often mouthed the words with very little volume attached. Not because of indifference, but because I’m not a very good singer. Not anymore. Whether it’s a press box, press row or the upper deck — one thing is for sure:
America and its anthem need to be Loud and Proud.
David Moulton writes for the Naples (Fla.) Daily News.